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Fellow Nigerians, it is time to raise some pertinent questions in this our all important democratic experiment. Perhaps this is an auspicious time to do this considering that we shall all be heading to the polls come February, 2015 to make crucial decisions as to which way we are headed as a country. As patriotic citizens of this enormously blessed country, we should in all honesty rise to this occasion of charting a way forward through intelligent reviews and ratings of politicians, political parties and the message they preach. Good enough, through the struggles of democracy lovers, we have been faced with two formidable alternatives among others. We shall be limiting our discourse to this two giant political parties; the ruling PDP and the newly formed APC from which we are most likely to have the next president.
The PDP has always claimed to be the big umbrella under which the people are shielded and hence attributes power to the people. Their message in the runners up to 2015 has largely depicted that of consolidation, continued economic and infrastructural transformation among others. The today’s men has been quick always to flaunt the massive road construction and reconstruction going on in various parts of the nation. The rejuvenation of the nation’s moribund railway system, the reconstruction of the numerous airports that dots the length and breadth of this nation. The establishment of the almajiri schools in the northern part of the country; first of its kind,the establishment of federal universities in so many states thereby creating employment and at the same time making education accessible to all. Fishing out ghost workers using the IPPIS policy tool and consequently creating employment as replacement. All these are aside passing and signing important bills into law such as the health bill and the freedom of information bill which has made it possible to question government policies, actions and inactions without fear of molestation by government and or any of her agencies. Indeed I may not be able to exhaust the litany of achievements often credited to this administration and by extension the party.
On the other side of the divide, is the new kid in the kitty, the APC with the resounding message of change. This platform has come with brooms to sweep Nigeria and bring about change. I have not been opportune however to know exactly what they intend to change. May be because for so many months after its formation through alliance of some legacy parties, the APC more or less has been largely occupied by politicking rather than diagnosis of the problems of the country they intend to lead or change as you may wish to put it. In the medical parlance, sound diagnosis is a precursor to effective treatment. Hence a careful study of the country and her plethora of issues will certainly give birth to a sound policy document capable of addressing same. Very important issues like that of security would have been addressed by this document which should tell Nigerians what and how differently the hydra headed monster will be tackled when and if change is achieved. However, this is what Nigerians have been waiting endlessly from the apostles of change. Yet, none seems to be around the corner. This has therefore lead to this list of questions about the real intent of this change being brandished at every opportunity.
Let me start from some burning national issues at the moment. How sincere is the change being chanted all over when the change champions cannot even support the massive yearnings for local government autonomy atleast in the states they control? One would have thought that change agents would quickly as a matter of policy respond affirmatively to this issue of great importance to the Nigerian masses. This doesn’t seem to be so at least for now. How sincere is this change when the prospective change agent is a tested and failed specimen riddled with sad tales of human rights abuses, gender inequality issues, selective justice and or sectionalism, religious sympathy and other sundry issues? Have we forgotten quickly that one good turn they say deserves another? Or are we saying that the illegal promulgation of decree 2 to suppress press freedom was a good turn? We seem to have forgotten that the same message of change was employed albeit indirectly to forcefully seize power by the current change agent in the 80s with so much promise then, but abysmal outcome. No wonder one of the big fishes in the change train once said that the change agent is rather an agent of destabilisation.
I am very much aware of our forgetfulness as a people but have we also forgotten very quickly that the same saintly change agent is unapologetically surrounded by questionable personalities from the other side of the divide? These are the same people he seldom agree on anything even as recently as 2011?
What makes us believe in the sincerity of this change? A change that has not shown how differently the economy will be managed to address the issue of unemployment? Yet we are all chanting change, change from the transparently organised YOUWIN programme that has contributed to the empowerment of the unemployed with its chain effect? Or a change from the obvious transformation of the Agricultural sector? A change from the total elimination of corruption in the fertiliser distribution?
By the way, what change are we expecting from people who have had the opportunity to do whatever they preach today but squandered same without regret? What makes us think that they will do anything differently especially given that no value has been added to the change agent by way of personal development since he left power? How then did the transfiguration occur in the life of this renowned tyrant?
Have we taken time to ask whether we are expecting change for the better or for the worse? Before we follow the bandwagon to satisfy the interest of few and ignorantly plunge the entire nation into a backward moving train, let’s be sure that we are not changing from the on going nationwide infrastructural rejuvenation back to a stagnant status. I hope we are not determined to change from the recently entrenched democratic norms that encourage freedom of information to praise singing even in the face of intimidation? Let’s be sure that we are not interested in changing from gender equality and respect for human rights to human rights abuses and gender inequality? Or what exactly are we expecting to change fellow Nigerians? I have no qualms with change but only positive change with well spelt out specifics. And this is why I am questioning this blind solidarity.
Oliver U Eze wrote from Kaduna.
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